Female students across the UK are joining forces to stage a boycott of nightclubs this week in protest of dangerous spiking incidents which have been reported across the country.
Students in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Bristol among others will take part in the event which will see women urged to avoid nightclub and bar venues on some of the industry’s busiest student nights.
Here’s what you need to know and how to get involved.
Why are women boycotting nightclubs?
The campaign comes after frustration boiled over regarding women’s safety in nightclub venues.
Recent reports state that several women have been allegedly targeted with spiking via injection, with many waking up with puncture wounds.
The National Police Chiefs Council has confirmed that 198 reports of drink spiking have been made within the UK during the past two months, with 24 reports of spiking by injection.
The Girls Night In boycott has gained traction on social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter with thousands of people calling out the recent reports of spiking across the UK.
The campaign group posted a statement to Instagram which read: “Spiking has become an epidemic. Never before have we heard of so many students waking up with no memory of what had happened the night before.
“This is not getting ‘blackout drunk’, this is getting drugged and is something that can be changed.
“We are asking clubs and bars to increase their entry security. We are asking clubs and bars to provide free drink protection devices. We are asking clubs and bars to provide a clear and obvious medical centre and a safe way to get home.
“This is not a stay at home message. This is asking our students to protest against the clubs and bars. They are not responding to our complaints, so we must make them.”
What has been said about the issue?
It comes after reports of women being spiked with needles in Exeter, Nottinghamshire, West Yorkshire and Scotland in recent weeks.
In Bristol, police are investigating a suspected ‘drink-spiking’ incident at Pryzm nightclub at Bristol’s Harbourside earlier this month.
A post by the Girls Night In Bristol group on their Instagram page, which has attracted more than 3,000 followers, reads: “Dear Bristol nightclubs… what are you going to do?
“Many of us are feeling unsafe with the countless spikings happening currently and we are wondering what is it you are doing to help us?
“We are asking for your policies and training to be updated, anti-spiking products, more support and more OBVIOUS/ACCESSIBLE support for those who think they may have been spiked.
“Bristol clubs, it’s your turn to do better.”
Meanwhile, the organiser of the Brum Night In campaign group has said young people across the country want nightclubs to take “some degree of responsibility” to keep them safe after a surge in spiking reports across the county.
Hannah, a student at the University of Birmingham, said she believes young people “are very concerned” about the incidents recently and that young people could start to wonder “if and when it will happen to them”.
She said the campaign is largely dominated by students, as these are issues that “disproportionately affect students due to the culture of going out at university.”
“I’ve heard from friends who have gone to clubs in the past week that people are discussing their safety and incidents of spiking whilst stood in queues for clubs.”
“We want clubs to take some degree of responsibility and say ‘this is what we have in place to keep you safe. Now, in response to concerns that this is not enough we are going to do x, y and z to make your experience in our clubs safer’”.
When is the boycott taking place?
The boycott, which will take place across UK cities and towns, began on 26 October and each participating city will boycott a night out over the space of a week.
The boycotts are taking place in towns and cities across the UK over the next week:
How can I get involved in the boycott?
Groups around the country are asking women to not visit their local clubs or bars on the day of the boycott in their city or town to help put pressure on them to increase security and safety for women.
Instead, groups are asking people to host parties at home or in a place they feel safe.
What else is being done to campaign for increased safety for women in nightclubs?
Recently, a petition was launched to make it a legal requirement to search nightclub guests upon entry.
It gained attention following the reports of spiking by injection across the country.
The petition has gained more than 169,000 signatures since launching on 14 October and will now be considered for debate in Parliament after meeting the 100,000 signature threshold.
Petition creator, Hannah Thomson, said: “There are too many cases of weapons and ‘date rape’ drugs being used in clubs. It begs the question, why aren’t nightclubs required to do more to prevent harmful items making it into their club?”
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